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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flush





Hello, everyone! Long time no see :).  I'm kicking off summer with New York times best-selling author  Carl Hiaasen, whom I had the rare pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago at a local Barns and Noble. He was so nice! Nice enough, in fact, to sign multiple books of his for me, my sister (black tank), and my friend Julia (Teal T-shirt) :). But this week is for the first book of his I read - Flush. Initially I read flush for a summer reading assignment, but I ended up loving it and finishing in less than a week :).

Meet Noah Underwood, a  Florida Keys Native, and his younger sister, Abbey. Their dad, Paine Underwood, is quite the environmentalist - so protective of nature, in fact, that he was arrested for trying to stop the Coral Queen, a gambling boat, from dumping sewage into the ocean. Dusty Muleman, the stingy captain of the Coral Queen, refuses to pay for the sewage to be hauled away, so he dumps it in the ocean in the middle of the night. Not only is this bad for the fish, but its bad for the people; the sewage contaminates the water and sometimes washes up on shore lines like on Thunder Beach, getting people sick enough to be sent to the hospital.

Gross? Absolutely. Illegal? Most definitely. There's just one teensy problem - dispite their dad's constant attempts to alert the coast gaurd and other environmental health associations, no one has been able to catch Muleman in the act. With the help of Lice Peeking, a sleazy man willing to do practically anything for money, and Shelly, the burly blond bartender of the Coral Queen,  it's up to Noah and Abbey to catch this dirty scoundrel (no pun intended) and clear his father's name. This fun filled novel is entertaining and adventurous, which goes well along with our eco-friendly main characters! There are
a few twists and turns that I'm sure you won't mind either ;)

More book reviews headed your way (When I'm not fan-girling about Mark of Athena :P) ! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 39 Clues


Goooooooooooooooooood Day, dear readers! Sorry it took so long, lost track of time - my week was hectic! Any who, I've picked a good one this week - The 39 Clues (They rotate between authors, but Rick Riordan, who wrote the Percy Jackson Series and the Kane Chronicles, wrote the 1st book). Well, books 1-10 anyway. Contrary to popular belief there are only 10 books, not 39. There's also the 11th book, which is an odd one - it's like a prequel that you need to read the other 10 first to understand. It kinda tells the history of the Cahill family as time goes on. Then there's Cahills vs. Vespers, which is the extension series. But, as for books 1-10...

Meet Amy (14 - the bookworm) and Dan (11- the pranker/computer-savvy kid) Cahill, two orphans living in Boston, MA with their terrible great Aunt Beatrice. The only thing they really enjoy is their visits every-other weekend to see their grandmother, Grace. But even seeing her is about to be taken away from them - Grace is an elderly woman, and her life is coming to a close. At Grace's funeral, Dan and Amy are brought into a room of Grace's mansion with many other of their relatives. Here, they find a video message from Grace, at first just stating general knowledge about their family: that it consists of 4 branches - Thomas, Janus, Lucian and Ekaterina (Ekat for short), and that each branch is pretty much rivals. What they don't know is they didn't just disagree on trivial family disputes, but individuals from each branch have been competing for the ultimate prize - virtually unstoppable power in a currently unknown form. But it's not out in the open: Generations of Cahills have been hiding it, by burying clues all over the world. The competition is vicious, and its life or death. They are all offered a choice: 1 million dollars each... or the first clue. They figured that if they chose the money, Beatrice would find a way to take it from them, and they would go back to their normal lives. So they decide to dive head-first into the clue hunt. With Beatrice furious and unwilling to help, they can't travel the world without a guardian. They decide to turn to their former au pair (the only one they actually liked), Nellie Gomez. Together, the team is the underdog, but the others soon find out they can't afford to ignore them.

The authors do a great job of intertwining world history with Cahill family history. It really sparked my interest in some of the countries they visited - you might even learn a thing or two :).

A cool thing about this series is you solve the puzzles along with the characters: not only in the story, but in the physical book itself! There's clues in the cover and pages that can help you unfold what will happen later in the book. It actually really exhilarating :). They are a bit short compared to the books I normally read, but the multitude of them makes up for it.

These are really thrilling, and keep you on the edge of your seat. I really recommend these if you like solving puzzles or mysteries, and travel as well  :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Hi, everyone! This weeks post is for Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society. I came across one of these three books last week, when I saw my friend carrying one around (as we book worms do when we find a good book :) ). I hadn't seen the first one since I was in 5th grade (I'm in 8th grade now) when Ms. White introduced us to them. I was so happy to see that she was reading them.

Meet the remarkable intelligent Reynie (Reynard) Muldoon, an "average" eleven-year-old boy with average features, who lives in the Stonetown orphanage.  In fact, he is so intelligent that he needs a special tutor to teach him at the ophanage. One day while reading the paper, he comes across a newspaper add calling all children with special abilities to take a written test to asses their logic and bravery. Reynie moves on to the next level, along with George "Sticky" Washington (on account of his photographic memory), Kate Weatherall, an agile and resourceful girl, and Constance Contraire, a rather rude and tiny individual. On their last test (which, of course, all four pass), they are brought to Mr. Benedict's house by one of his assistants, "The Pencil-like Woman", later known as Number Two (this is also when you meet Rhonda, Mr. Benedict's other assistant). Mr. Benedict, a genial (vocab word!) fellow with a green plaid suit and the condition of narcolepsy, gives them a secret mission to complete. The children are to act as his spies at Mr. Curtain's Institute (aka The institute) and become one of his privileged students in order to get as much information as possible. They are to communicate through morse code by flashing a flashlight out the window if their bedroom. His main goal is to destroy a machine called the Whisperer, that can affect peoples' memory, ability to think, and even their thoughts - a tool that should not at the disposal of someone like Mr. Curtain.

This is an adventurous, intellectual, and overall phenomenal tale, as all three in the series are. Even though it's mainly action/adventure, there's tons of puzzles to solve, so it keeps you engaged through the whole book.

This is really one of my favorites, I highly recommend them! Stay tuned for more great reads :) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Hunger Games

Hello everyone, and Happy Hunger Games! :) Soon to be in theaters (I can hardly contain myself - going to the midnight showing of Hunger Games tonight!), this trilogy is truly captivating and really caught my attention. This trilogy is an awesome read, and getting so popular carry these books around is trending (best trend ever!).

From the ruins of North America rose the nation of Panem, that includes the capitol and 12 districts, each with a principal industry for the capitol's people. It originally had 13, but District 13 rebelled against the capitol, causing an all out war that in the end left 13 in ruins. The capitol was not only enraged, but grew worried that other districts would rebel and cause the nations downfall. As punishment, and to keep the nation in line, the capitol created the Hunger Games - a cruel show containing 24 children between the ages  of 12-18 in a fight to the death for the capitol's entertainment. The contestants? One girl and one boy randomly chosen from each district. Twelve-year-olds entered in once each, thirteen-year-olds entered twice each, fourteen-year-olds three times each and so on. But its not as random as it seems.  With the lower class starving to death, the capitol takes advantage and gives kids the option of applying for tesserae, one years worth of grain and oil for one person in exchange for entering their name an extra time to be selected for the Hunger Games.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, citizen of the Seam in coal-mining District 12,  has a tough life - with her father dead due to a coal mining accident, sister Primrose too young to work, and her mother too deep in depressive shock to even function like she used to, Katinss is responsible for supporting her family. Everyday she slips under the fence into the woods to hunt, and later sell, game, just like her father taught her. Katniss and Gale, her eighteen-year-old hunting partner and best friend, have been hunting together, trading at the Hob (12's black market), and helping support each other's families since Katniss was twelve.

But everything is about change. The reaping has arrived, and everyone is anxious to no end - what with people like Katniss, whose name is entered 20 times, and Gales' in 42, you can practically feel the tension. "Ladies first!" exclaims Effie Trinket, a capitol girl with ridiculous hair, a ridiculous accent, and ridiculous outlook on life, walking up to the bowl containing names of possible girl tributes. But the name she says into the microphone isn't Katniss. It's Primrose Everdeen. After unfreezing, Katniss automatically jumps in to take her place. Once you start, you won't be able to stop drinking up every word of these epic novels.

(SPOILER ALERT!) Many of my friends hated the ending of Mocking Jay, but I thought it was satisfying because Katniss finally finds purpose in her life. She's happy with having a family and kids that don't grow up in a world where they will always be afraid like she was. I was so upset when Prim died though! I mean, she was the only family member Katniss was truly sure she loved, and struggled to keep her alive through the trilogy only for her to die before the war was over. Anyway, I didn't find Mocking Jay bad. A little depressing at first, but well written and very engaging.

These three are phenomenal reads that I highly recommend for fans of futurism, books with survival themes, or adventure novels. Until next time, May the odds be ever in your favor...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Kane Chronicles


Happy Birthday, Sadie Kane! This week, I wanted to do The Kane Chronicles because today is Sadie Kane's Birthday :). This series is still being written (Book 3, The Serpents Shadow, is coming out on May 1st! I am so pumped!), but the two books that are out are great.

Before I begin, I must warn you - the following blog post contains SPOILER ALERTS for The Red Pyramid and Throne of Fire.

I read these books when I had strep throat a few weeks ago : /. I was sitting there all miserable and bored, thinking, What to do? Read of course! At first I was reluctant to pick up the Red Pyramid, thinking that it would be a rip off of the Percy Jackson books, another series by Rick Riordan. Boy, was I wrong! I ended up loving them. Although they incorporate egyptian mythology into the modern world, It took on a different angle than the Percy Jackson series.

Fourteen-year-old Carter Kane and twelve-year-old Sadie Kane are two siblings who never see each other. Their father, Julius, is a famous Egyptologist who travels the world with Carter and carries around a mysterious work bag Carter was told never to open.  Sadie lives in London with her Grandparents. They each have what the other wants - for Carter, a normal life. For Sadie, time with her dad. On Christmas eve, Sadie, Carter, and Julius all take a trip to the British Museum, where their dad wants to "set things right". While he tries to fix things, everything takes a turn for the worst.  Julius sneaks into another room with the Rosetta Stone, and his children watch him summon a mysterious figure. The Rosetta stone explodes, and their father is imprisoned in a coffin that sinks into the earth. They later learn that Julius had awakened 5 major egyptian gods - Horus, Isis, Osiris, Nephtys, and - worst of all- Set, god of chaos.  Set is cooking up a scheme that can't be good. Carter and Sadie take on the powers of their ancestors and learn to use ancient egyptian magic on a quest to save the world - and their father.
Riordan leaves you on the edge practically begging for more.

After the cliff hanger left behind from Red Pyramid, I couldn't put down the Throne of Fire. Although I did have a 102 degree fever... but I am rereading it so I make sure the fever didn't make me miss anything! Between the hunt to stop Apophis, Carters' search for Zia, and the conflict between Walt, Sadie, and Anubis - this novel is awesome, and my favorite so far!

Click here for more on The Kane Chronicles.

By the way, Happy St. Patty's Day! Stay tuned next week for the trilogy everyone's talking about (Soon to be a major motion picture, Hint Hint). 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of π (Happy Pi Day!)

Happy Pi Day! Today (March 14th) is Pi day, because 3.14 is the modern-day number used for pi. For those of you who dont know what pi is, the Greek Symbol (π) Pi is the ratio of the circumfrence of a circle to its diameter, and is often used in math and science classes when dealing with circles. Pi day is celebrated internationally by mathematicians and fellow geeks world wide, so don't be afraid to show your enthusiasm! :)

I was first introduced to this book in elementary school in math lab on Pi Day of 2009, and my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Swanson, made sure to well introduce us to this sacred nerd holiday. We spent the whole day walking around the school in teams measuring the circumference, radius, and diameter of spherical or circular objects to see who could complete the pi day work sheet first. The prize - first dibs at whatever slice of pie we pleased! The PTSA moms were nice enough to bring us a variety of pies :).
Anyway, this educational children's book follows Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and their son, Radius. When Sir Cumference drinks a potion that turns him into a dragon, Radius goes on a quest to find the magic number that will restore him back to his former shape - Pi! This book is awesome! :)

Below is the π/pie I baked (it works both ways). :) Click here for the recipe (I made slight modifications - just made PB chocolate chip, without the cookie. So I doubled everything else).


Happy Pi Day! (P.S. Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!)


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stargirl and Love, Stargirl

Happy March! This book (Stargirl) I initially had to read for school, but at soon as we finished the first chapter in class, there was no stopping me from practically running to the bookstore ASAP.

Leo Borlock, a tenth-grader at Mica High in Phoenix, Arizona, goes to school every day that is so conformed, its bland as…well, Mica (haha get it?). Until a freckle-nosed-home-schooler with a rather bizarre name (take a wild guess J) comes into play and swirls the school into a multi-colored granite. At first, the curious Stargirl gets the cold shoulder in Arizona, but then she dazzles the town with a spirited performance of a one-girl-half-time-show at a once drab football game.  Suddenly, the school gets back its spirit, and individuality is the newest trend. Beautifully written, Stargirl is absolutely insightful and well conveys the message of how important individuality is.

As for Love, Stargirl, it’s equally delightful. Told in letters from Stargirl to Leo, fans of Stargirl will eat up Stargirl’s optimistic, carefree attitude. Even though it’s not told in Stargirl’s perspective, I felt like I was experiencing the story like a Star-person J. Overall, this pair is quite inspiring.

Any questions, comments, compliments, criticisms, quips, quotes, or quarries? Post a comment! Keep in mind I’ll be happy to review your favorite book. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Percy Jackson and the Olympians



Hey, Everyone! This week I decided to do the entire series of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which started with The Lighting Thief (See last weeks post for more on that). This series takes on some of the most classic adventures of all time - Greek Mythology - and adds a modern twist that your average latin class can't compete with. Percy Jackson embarks on 5 electrifying adventures jam-packed with mystery, friendship, and non stop humor that will keep readers on edge. The whole series ends with a bang as (SPOILER ALERT!) Percy, the Olympian gods, and all of Camp Half-blood battle the Titans and their  leader Kronos, the Lord of time himself, in New York City.

This series is an awesome read, especially if your not much of a bookworm. And it's so funny my friends and I actually share the same inside jokes as the characters do! :) 
In fact, I love the books so much my best friend, sister, and I want to make our own movie adaption of The Lightning Thief. (Click here for more on that or here to watch our video).

Read on, you guys, and remember to post a comment if you have any reading suggestions or ideas for future blog posts!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Lightning Thief

Hi Everyone! I'm here to kick off my new blog with its first post (yay!). I'm dedicating this week to one of my favorite book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and the first blog post to The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

Meet Percy Jackson, a "troublesome" 12-year-old whose life is about to get very interesting. Not that it needs it. Percy has to cope every day with ADHD and Dyslexia, and Percy's been kicked out of school after school for accidents he can't seem to explain. He soon learns that these "accidents" aren't accidents at all. Have you every heard of the Greek Gods or Greek Mythology? Those old tales the Ancient Greeks used to tell to explain things before science came along?  Now, I know what you're thinking - "But that’s all they were, just myths". Well, dear mortals, you're in for a rude awakening: they weren't myths. The gods are real. And Percy isn't just any normal kid, but a demigod son of Poseidon, whose mere scent can attract the fiercest of monsters. His Dyslexia and ADHD have a purpose - his mind is rigged for ancient Greek, and his restlessness keeps him alive in battle. So Percy's best friend, Grover, (a satyr who escorts half-bloods to camp) takes him to the only safe place in the world for demigods, Camp Half-blood, where is trained to survive. But Percy isn't just a normal demigod either: Zeus is after him. Why? His greatest weapon, the master bolt, has been stolen. And Percy's the prime suspect. This adventurous novel is filled with suspense, humor, and beloved characters that will get you hooked on this amazing series.

Click here to check out more on the Percy Jackson Series